Managements in two key sectors of the US economy sent positive signals about their financial position and business prospects overnight. With the stage having been set last week for capital returns in the financial sector by last week’s positive stress test results from 23 US banks, several of the largest US banks announced dividend increases overnight including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
Meanwhile, the beleaguered airline and aerospace sectors got a big vote of confidence from United Airlines, who ordered 200 new narrow body jets from Boeing and an additional 70 from Airbus. United also indicated it plans to hire more staff as demand and capacity increase.
US index futures are flat this morning trading between -0.2% and +0.2% as indices digest yesterday’s action that saw the S&P 500 close at a record high and the NASDAQ gain nearly 1.0%. European markets are strengthening this morning with the Dax rising 1.0% and the FTSE gaining 0.4%.
Natural Gas continues to soar, climbing another 3.2% today as high temperatures across North America boost summer cooling demand. WTI crude oil is up 0.2%, while copper is down 0.8% and gold is down 0.4%. The US Dollar is picking up today climbing 0.4% against gold and the Pound, and 0.3% against the Euro and the Canadian Dollar.
It’s the last quiet day of economic news for this week. Tonight brings Chinese monthly PMI reports followed by US ADP payrolls, Canadian monthly GDP and Chicago PMI tomorrow morning.